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I wish I could preserve the elegance, as well as the condensed sentiment of the original.
Still are these rugged realms : e'en pride is husb’d:
Note B. Page xxix. Review of Dr. Miller's Retrospect of the eighteenth century, the first piece ever published by Mr. B. Literary Miscellany, Vol. I. p. 82. Remarker, No. 5, on criticism. Monthly Anthology. Vol. III. 19. Review of Sherman on the Trinity. Id. III. 249. Review of the Salem Sallust. Id. II. 549. Introduction to retrospective notices of American literature. Id. V. 52. Remarker, No. 3,4 on Gray. Id. V. 367. and 484. Review of Logan's version of Cato Major. Id. V. 281, 346 and 391. Editor's address. Id. VI. 1. Discourse before the 0. B. K. Id. VII. 145. Translation of the article INETMA from Schleusner's Lexicon, with notes. General Repository and Review. Vol. I. p. 296.
Note C. Page xxvi. Notices of Griesbach's Greek Testament. Anthology. V. 18. VI. 349. X. 107 and 403. Defence of the accuracy and fidelity of Griesbach. General Repository. I. 89.
*** The “Right Hand of Fellowship” delivered at the ordination of the Rev. CHARLES LOWELL, by Mr. BUCKMINSTER, will be found at the end of this volume.
It is not without reluctance, my friends, that I appear before you this morning ; not because I feel any distrust of your candour, but because I find it so difficult to offer you any thing which shall be worthy of your candour. The orator, on this occasion, as he has no definite object, is not restrained in the choice of his topics. This appears indeed to be a privilege ; but others, I doubt not, as well as myself, have found themselves embarrassed by the liberty of choosing without direction, and their spirits exhausted by indecision, before the thoughts were fixed, as they were at last, by necessity.
When I look round, however, on those whom I am called to address, and find them to be men with whom learning is at least in esteem; men too, whose mutual friendships, as they commenced on classic ground, will always preserve, I trust, something of the raciness of their origin, I should think myself unfaithful to this occasion, and to the character of the audience, if I were to choose any other subject, than
that which is common to us as scholars. For, however different our professions, opposite our connexions, wide our opinions, or uncertain our destinies in life, in this we agree, that letters have been our study, perhaps our delight. By these we are to live; and by these too, si qua fata aspera sinant ! we are to be remembered. In your company, then, I have no inclination to stray beyond the gardens of the academy, or within the noise of the city and the forum.
Is there a man who now hears me, who would not rather belong to an enlightened and virtuous community, than to the mightiest empire of the world distinguished only by its vastness? If there is, let him cast his eye along the records of states. What do we now know of the vast unlettered empires of the east? The far extended conquests of the Assyrian hardly detain us a moment in the annals of the world, while the little state of Athens will for ever be the delight of the historian and the pride of letters; preserving, by the genius of her writers, the only remembrance of the barbarian powers which overwhelmed her. To come down to our own times; who would not rather have been a citizen of the free and polished republic of Geneva, than wander a prince in the vast dominions of the Czar, or bask in the beams of the present emperour of a desolated continent.
In the usual course of national aggrandizement, it is almost certain, that those of you, who shall attain to old age, will find yourselves the citizens of an empire unparalleled in extent; but is it probable, that you will have the honour of belonging to a nation of men of letters? The review of our past literary progress does not authorize very lofty expectations, neither does it leave us entirely without hope..
It is our lot to have been born in an age of tremendous revolution; and the world is yet covered with the wrecks of its ancient glory, especially of its literary renown. The fury of that storm, which rose in France, is passed and spent, but its effects have been felt through the whole system of liberal education. The foul spirit of innovation and sophistry has been seen wandering in the very groves of the Lyceum, and is not yet completely exorcised, though the spell is broken. When we look back to the records of our learning before the American revolution, we find, or think we find, (at least in New-England) more accomplished scholars than we have since produced; men, who conversed more familiarly than their children with the mighty dead; men, who felt more than we do the charm of classical accomplishments ; men, in short, who had not learned to be ashamed of being often found drinking at the wells of antiquity.* But so greatly have our habits of thinking been disturbed by the revolutions of the last thirty years, that the progress of our education, and, of course, the character of our learning, have not a little suffered. It is true, we have shared the detriment with Europe ; but the effect upon us, though perhaps temporary, has been peculiary extensive and unfortunate, because our government and our habits were in some degree unsettled.
In Francet and in some other countries of Europe, what literature has lost seems to be compensated by the progress
* Ch. Justice Pratt, Jas. Otis, Prof. Sewall, Bowdoin, Winthrop, Chauncey, perhaps from the natural effect of distance, appear to us to have been eminent scholars. Whether in New-England we have since produced their superiours, docti judicent. There are now living a few men, who were educated before the revolution, whom we should be proud, though not perhaps at liberty, to name. We can only wish, that they may long animate us by their living example, rather than by their remembrance.
* We have lately seen a discourse of M. Dacier, Secretaire perpetuel de la Classe d'Histoire et de Literature ancienne de l'Institut, delivered 20th February, 1808, before the Emperour, on presenting a report of the progress of literature in France during the last twenty years. This class of the Institute, which comprises very nearly the same objects with the ancient Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres, and to which its remaining members have been transferred, was charged by the Emperoor with an inquiry into this subject, preparatory to some steps, which will be
of science. In England the trunk of her national learning was so deeply rooted, that it has been swayed only, and not injured by this tempest of reform. It yet retains its vigour, and we doubt not will entirely recover its former direction. But here, the French revolution, immediately
taken to revive these studies. The following extracts are made here; the first, because it gives a very accurate definition of the different objects and value of literature and of physical science; the others, because they contain the deliberate result of the inquiries of a body of men of letters on the present state of French learning.
“Si les sciences de calcul et d'observation ajoutent à nos jouissances physiques, et nous en font espérer de nouvelles pour l'avenir, les sciences morales exercent leur empire sur l'ame; elles l' éclairent, la dirigent, la soutiennent, l'élèvent ou la tempèrent; elles avancent ou conservent la civilisation ; elles apprennent à l'homme à se connoître lui-même, et lui donnent dans tous les temps, dans tous les lieux, dans toutes les conditions, ce bonheur dont les autres sciences ne peuvent lui promettre que des moyens.” Page 5.
“Votre Majesté verra que, malgré les troubles politiques qui ont agité la France, elle n'est, jusqu'à present, restée en arrière dans aucune des branches de la littérature; mais c'est avec un sentiment pénible que nous sommes forcés de lui faire apercevoir que plusieurs sont menacées d'un anéantissement prochain et presque total. La philologie, qui est la base de toute bonne littérature, et sur laquelle reposent la certitude de l'histoire et la connoissance du passé, qui a répandu tant d'éclat sur l'Académie des belles lettres que notre classe doit continuer, ne trouve presque plus personne pour la cultiver. Les savans dont les travaux fertilisent encore chaque jour son domaine, restes, pour la plupart, d'une génération qui va disparoître, ne voient croître autour d'eux qu'un trop petit nombre d'hommes qui puissent les remplacer ; et cette lumière publique, propre à encourager et à juger leurs travaux, diminue sensiblement de clarté, et son foyer se rétrécit tous les jours de plus en plus. Faire connoître le mal à votre Majesté, c'est s'assurer que votre main puissante saura y appliquer le remède." Page 6, 7.
“ Cependant, en France, quelques hommes de lettres continuoient, dans le silence de la solitude, leurs études et leurs travaux; et, dès que les circonstances l'ont permis, on a vu paroître dans les collections de l'Institut un assez grand nombre de notices de manuscrits et de mémoires relatifs à notre histoire du moyen âge et à la diplomatique. Le quatorzième volume du Recueil des historiens de France a été publié par les ordres et sous les auspices du Gouvernement; le quinzième s'imprime, ainsi que le quinzième volume du Recueil des ordonnances des rois de la troisième dynastie francoise. D'autres ouvrages du même genre, qui ont été interrompus, attendent encore, à la vérité, des continuateurs; et nous sommes obligés d'avouer, quoiqu'à regret, à votre Majesté, que nous ne pouvons espérer qu'ils en trouvent tous, à moins qu'un de vos regards puissans ne ranime ce genre d'études dans lequel la France s'est illustrée, pendant plus de deux siècles, et qu'elle paroît aujourd'hui avoir presque en tièrement abandonné.”—Pages 13, 14.